Friday, November 13, 2009

How the Government Should Support Local Farms | Newsweek National News

Check out this website I found at ow.ly

Even though I feel we are living in the land of plenty (by which I mean Clallam County specifically, not the USA as a whole) the issues in this article are pertinent even here. We have a wonderful local dairy, many viable produce farms, and local meat and fish.

But don't have local cream and butter, due to the vagaries of regulation that would make our dairy farmer a food processor if he had a cream separator, which would make him subject to all sorts of onerous requirements. He would have to pave the parking lot of his small on-farm store, have handicapped parking, have public restrooms. And that's just the beginning.

The fact that farmers can't slaughter the animals they raise means that custom butchers have to do the job, raising the price of the meat and giving the farmers less control. They don't even get all of the parts of their animals back, and who really knows if they are getting their own well-raised beasts back at all? After investing so much time and energy into pasturing animals the way they were meant to be raised, does it seem right to send them off to some other place in the end?

If we don't have local processing, we don't really have a local foodshed. We add transportation costs, the labor of outside processors, possible contamination, and all sorts of other complications. We have to take control back from the conglomerates--who created the rules that are keeping our local farmers from serving us directly. The rules may have been put into place in the name of efficiency and safety, but the reality is that they only serve the interests of huge agribusiness.

Buy local, and insist loudly that it be TRULY local, made and processed close to home. Know your farmer!

Posted via web from justine's posterous

4 comments:

millie said...

You could suggest that your local dairy farmer give you the products you desire and then you could give the farmer a donation. Here on the east coast, a local cheese maker has done this for several years at the farmer's market. He makes more money since the local government forbid him from "selling" his cheese, than before. Everyone is happy!

Justine Raphael said...

Yes, I have been in this situation with a farmer before, but the whole business was conducted this way. For our dairy it might be risky, as they are able to sell their milk in local stores. This is probably a much larger source of income than on-farm sales, so not worth jeopardizing. It's just silly bureaucratic game, controlling people and their business this way.

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